More previews from the Kelly Tyrannosaur Project.

Kelly TrixFBAs we can see here… not everything tyrannosaur has to be Tyrannosaurus! This classic scene has been depicted many times…And it should have been an awesome one to watch. Triceratops was once depicted as a mud wrestler by Dr. Bob Bakker.

Mike Kelly has been painstakingly putting together a treaty about Tyrannosaurus that wants to embrace everything: from local environments, to the prey, to the extant contemporary fauna and to the different approaches to recreate the image of the über predator… feathers and no feathers,,,. Obviously after my “conversion” through the discovery of  Yutyrannus, there was no way I could go back to do Tyrannosaurus the way I had done all my life. Parsimony reigns in Palaeontology. We will need now hard evidence to see T. rex naked the way it used too be, even if for some  the acceptance of image transition has been and continues to be very hard. And that has included me and Mike himself… But once you make your mind about the new image and understand why,  the only question for the artist from then on is to make the image believable!  I’m really looking forward to see Mike Kelly’s book finished and published. It’s going to be a real achievement at every possible level. Tyr  rowB

Obviously the one showing the Keratin Revolution was not only T. rex… and Triceratops had to have his whole new make-up too! This time blending the hard evidence of hits skin,  I have used a B&W stripped  pattern that I have used before and curiously makes it blend quite well with the surroundings . Keep plugged in for more on the Keratin Revolution in the not so far future!

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Dinosaur Skin and Survival… the new coming project.

Tarbosaurus and Talarurus… where ends meet in  the  new exhibition. In association with Gondwana Studios… the next Dinosaur rEvolution will be coming from as far as Tasmania! After…

Source: Dinosaur Skin and Survival… the new coming project.

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Dinosaur Skin and Survival… the new coming project.

Tarbo TalarurusF copy Tarbosaurus and Talarurus… the where ends meet in  the  new exhibition.

In association with Gondwana Studios… the next Dinosaur rEvolution will be coming from as far as Tasmania!

After the Hatching The Past success in Europe (thousands continue to visit the Horniman Museum… and our next stop might be Brussels, still to be confirmed!) we are working hard on our next project… an ambitious display of survival strategies colliding  in the Mesozoic.

From Sinosauropteryx, Caudipteryx, Nothronychus and Deinonychus to Heterodontosaurus, Kosmoceratops and Saichania…Quills, spikes and horns  versus feathers, teeth and claws… a lethal combination that will feature well researched  and mounted casts (some of them massive… some of them incredibly small… yes, even the famous quilled psittacosaur IS going to be there in all its glory!) all accompanied by my murals . Everything will be tied up with a very specific and illuminating narrative, incorporating  all the updated material and information we could lay our hands on. This is an exhibition with a clear purpose and scope.Maquette 1 copy

Hopefully some of the murals will be life-size to maximise  impact on our audience, and we will try to mix styles to give it a varied look.

I’m currently updating some old artwork and creating new, never seen protagonists  Working on murals is giving me  freedom to expand  creativity and at the same time concentrate in the detail… painting skin and feathers with a computer is an extremely laborious task… old habits take a long time to change: sometimes I even blow to the screen or swipe it with the side of my hand!

I thank Peter Norton for his support, enthusiasm and hard work that has allowed all this to happen. He is the master builder!  Imagine this scene with  Velociraptor and Avimimus  fleshed out in a life-size mural… I will show a further preview soon!DSC06017 copy

We have already booked some venues in the far  South East  of the planet and I’m sure at the end it will be going around the rest of the world. Let’s keep fingers crossed… and watch this space for further information!Booklet_cover-1 copy

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Tiny Titans non-stop… now at the Philip Currie Dinosaur Museum

 

20160225_103232_resizedIt is not only  the Holtz/Rey “Dinosaurs The Most Complete Up-To-Date  Encyclopedia For Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages…” that is currently available at the illustrious  Philip Currie Dinosaur Museum… the museum is also host to yet another  version of the StoneCo’s Hatching the Past saga, “TINY TITANS”…   and as you can see from the pictures, not so tiny this time! As in all the US displays, they take advantage of some of the big murals that, unfortunately,  are not available in the European version (wish we had them here, but space is scarce)… Thanks to Nick and Alanna for the pictures.20160226_102337_resized

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Talking Museums in Denmark

DSCN2478Copenhagen last week and under Misty, the famous Wyoming Diplodocus shadow…. The first thing that struck me is how passionate and interested was my Danish audience about Dinosaurs. I felt at home immediately delivering my “Bringing Dinosaurs Back To Life” talk to an overwhelming response of a mostly youthful audience… I had to effortlessly divide the talk in two following the .pattern of the Wine And Science event, and they would come for more in between and afterwards!

If that wasn’t enough, I had a rather exhausting session with children a couple of days later… I finished off more than 80 dinosaur pencil sketches on request so my eyes were almost gone at the end… it was worth it, the kids appreciated it very much… although I must admit I’d like to have offered better quality sketches!.

In view of this success we debated for a while on the future of the very slick and beautiful  Natural History Museum of Denmark, currently in crisis like most cultural institutions in Europe. The motive? Lack of money! Governments are not paying enough attention to the precious cultural resources and the dedicated staff are feeling the heat… with such uncertainty in their future I don’t think  a creative balance can be achieved.

We also debated the format, aims and reason of a Natural History Museum for the future. Is it Art? Is it entertainment? Is it didactic? I think it is all that and more and it’s part of a wider, global debate… but a Science  Museum is not specifically about”Art”. Dinosaur skeletons should not be considered “works of Art” with arbitrary, inflated market  values for “prestige”, even if that is the intention of many private collectors.  Adding prestige value to “real” fossil bones is dealing with market capital  that converts valuable scientific information (that should be for everyone) into a purely commercial fetish enterprise. How about investing in prestigious palaeontologists instead and purchase some accurate and excitingly mounted casts that are cheaper?   Casts nowadays are cheaper to handle (real bones are fragile and brittle), they are just as accurate and the mounting itself can be more dynamic and  much closer to the right anatomical posture. After all, not even their proudly mounted beautiful Diplodocus is fully complete at the level of “real” fossil in the installation.

And what about the”Entertainment” factor…? Important of course! Good exhibitions  and events attract enormous audiences as  was proven here. But there’s also an important didactic responsibility . The narrative is vital. Whatever a museum offers to their audiences needs to be carefully researched. The “how you are showing” is important but much more the “what you are showing”… a new argument that has surfaced is that murals  fleshing and depicting the mounted skeletons  stifle the imagination of the museum visitors… this is plainly absurd. Just  how many people’s imaginations were fuelled by Zallinger’s  Yale mural in the 50’s… or will be fuelled by the massive Julius Csotonyi murals at the new L.A. Dinosaur Gallery?  Children feel at home recreating themselves as Oviraptors surrounded by my murals at the Hatching the Past displays in the USA. People want to be entertained AND informed… and “Paleoart” is fulfilling that function! These topics may be seen as topical or unimportant, but they were very important for the hard working Danish.

At the end I managed to get one of the  best compliments anyone has given me in a long time: “We are not afraid creativity…we are not afraid of you…” I felt definitively at home!

DSCN2507I wish to extend my thanks to Mogens Trolle, Christopher Ries, Maja Balle, Jens Astrup, Bent Lindow,  Marie Rubæk Holm, Joakin Mengel, Andreas Jansen and many, many more for their  support, wit, discussion, wine and general inspiration.

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Horniman Museum Pt 2. Monster Families Gates Open… and is HUGE!

DSCN2271Yes… you saw it here first!  Carmen was amazed… My old “Saltasaurus Nesting Grounds” has never been seen like this before! We couldn’t believe how an original  painting 75 X 51 cm (in the vaults of Charlie and Flo Magovern) can be blown up to this scale and still look fine. Must be Gondwana Studios and Stone&Co magic!… and moreover, it literally opens to the public on Saturday!DSCN2267

Dinosaurs Monster Families is an event for everybody. Here I am with Rose Smith after a sneak preview this morning. I have finally been able to see a preview of the exhibition that takes  London by storm tomorrow… and it is one of the best set-ups I have seen Hatching The Past in.  Thanks to the good work of Peter Norton and the Horniman Museum team  in creating this wonderful event. The space might not be very big, but the amount of excitement contained here is amazing. It also includes two children play areas and many surprises…  don’t be fooled by the bare bones on the floor… they will be in a sand pit!

I’d like to specially  thank   Rose Smith(Community Learning Officer), Amy Welsh (Exhibitions Officer), Ellie Smith (Exhibitions & Design Manager) and Alison McKay ( PR & Media Officer) among many, for their support and good team work in setting this all together.

This is a classic exhibition for a classic venue, and we probably couldn’t find a better setting. Hope to see a few of you around here… if you live in London or are visiting, don’t miss it! Dave Hone is giving a talk there next Wednesday too!

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London’s Best Kept “Secret” Dinoexhibit Is About To Be Unveiled!

DSCN2215It’s finally here… and I have followed Peter Norton step by step build-up of Hatching The Past for the first time in London, at the Horniman Museum in South London and this time under the name of  “Dinosaurs Monster Families

As usual, it is a thrill to see the man working… and I think the final results will be as awesome as usual.  The space is not as big as I thought, so the casts, specimens and artwork are tightly spaced… for the better, I think. Novelties this time are even more egg casts, a David Attenborough surprise contribution  and the huge Tarbosaurus skull (holotype) that Peter has added lately… I had the joy to “play” with it before being installed in place!

Don’t miss this event… it starts the 13 of February for six long months… so there’s plenty of time for enjoyment, including organised talks by David Hone and possibly some events for kids with Carmen and yours truly.

Next week I’ll post some images of the finalised  exhibition after it opens… It will be the first time that an exhibition with my murals will be shown in my home town. It is an extremely rewarding experience.

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A couple of Mosasaurs for Walentinia!


MosasaursB

Walentinia Silverada is a student and colleague at the Instituto de Geología in Mexico City (fresh out from the illustrious clan of the UNAM/René Hernández & Marisol Montellano cradle). She has been studying Mexican mosasaurs for a long time… in fact they have been her thesis and now  she has graduated!  She complained to me that very seldom mosasaurs could be seen showing their ‘lizard’ forked tongues (based  not only on assumed ancestry, but  actual features in the skull’s jaws: two holes in the palate allow the odour particles to be transferred from the tongue’s tips to Jacobson’s organ.  See Netherlands Journal of Geosciences — Geologie en Mijnbouw | 84 – 3 |359 – 371 | 2005). She also noted that their possible general coloration  (based on latest discoveries regarding fossilised pigmentation) is also been often ignored… no less by monster atrocities of the likes of Jurassic World.

Schulp-2005-Did mosasaurs have forked tongues-3-7So what better way to celebrate her graduation than fulfilling her desires all at once? The coloration we discussed was somehow similar to a killer whale, makes sense… Although I’m still reluctant to take all studies on fossilised melanomas  too readily!  Things like this make it real fun to do marine reptiles at last…A good start of 2016, and is not even dinosaurian yet!  Here are a couple of (hypothetical) “Silveradasaurus walentiniae” in action… and by the way, she specially likes their eyes!

Clock is ticking for the great opening of Hatching The Past in London at the Horniman Museum the 13 of February…  Watch this space. More information soon!

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